KJAN Ag/Outdoor

30 acres burned in Montgomery County field fire

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 9th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The entire KJAN listening area is under a Red Flag Warning for critical fire weather conditions, meaning that any outdoor burning which occurs either intentionally or by accident, can spread in an explosive manner, due to low humidity, dry grasses and timber, and very gusty winds.

Photo's courtesy Montgomery Co. EMA (Brian Hamman)

Photo’s courtesy Montgomery Co. EMA (Brian Hamman)

Similar conditions Tuesday afternoon helped to spread a 15-acre fire in Montgomery County into a 30-acre fire. Emergency Manager Brian Hamman reports the Red Oak Fire Department was paged to a possible field fire just before 4-p.m., Tuesday, in the area of 230th Street and J Avenue.

Hamman says upon arrival, crews found nearly 15 acres of corn stalk stubble on fire, with flames moving rapidly to the south. Mutual aid was requested from the Stanton Fire Dept., and multiple tractors with discs were used to stop the spread of the flames. A total of 30 acres burned and crews were on scene for roughly three-hours. 10250061_619760518118010_440940216061508473_n

Hamman says a hot exhaust pipe that was sitting in the field while workers were marking terraces caused the fire. Once the crew noticed the fire, they attempted to extinguish it with their fire extinguisher but were unable to do so due to the strong winds and dry conditions. The Fire Weather Index was in the Very High category at the time.

State Park Campsites Available for July Fourth Holiday

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 9th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Fourth of July holiday is in the reservation window for state park campsites and while there are currently plenty of options, campers shouldn’t wait as sites can go quickly. Todd Coffelt, chief of state parks for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, says  “Our parks have a lot to offer and no two parks are the same. If your favorite park has filled, give a different park a try.”  To find a campsite, go to http://iowastateparks.reserveamerica.com/

As of Tuesday morning, reservable campsites with electricity have been filled at Clear Lake, Elinor Bedell, Emerson Bay, Gull Point, Lake Macbride and Lewis and Clark, near Onawa. Campers wanting to stay in those parks for the holiday will need to arrive early to secure a walk in site.

A few other state parks are close to filling reserved sites. Ledges and McIntosh Woods each have one reservable handicap site available. Viking Lake has one electrical site; Lake of Three Fires has two; George Wyth, Lake Wapello, Maquoketa Caves and Stone have three; and Green Valley has four. Dolliver Memorial, Union Grove and Wapsipinicon each have five electrical sites; Backbone and Lake Manawa have six; and Bellevue has seven.

Elevated Fire Danger for Cass & area counties Wednesday

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

April 8th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

SPECIAL WEATHER STATEMENT/ NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DES MOINES IA 413 PM CDT TUE APR 8 2014

SAC-CRAWFORD-CARROLL-AUDUBON-GUTHRIE-DALLAS-CASS-ADAIR-MADISON-ADAMS-UNION-TAYLOR-RINGGOLD COUNTIES…

…ELEVATED FIRE DANGER LATE WEDNESDAY MORNING AND AFTERNOON…

WARM AND DRY CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED TO DEVELOP ACROSS THE REGION LATE WEDNESDAY MORNING AND AFTERNOON. WITH SOUTHWEST WINDS EXPECTED TO INCREASE TO 20 TO 25 MPH WITH GUSTS TO NEAR 35 MPH AT TIMES. WITH RELATIVE HUMIDITY VALUES DROPPING TO NEAR 25 TO 35 PERCENT DURING THE DAY…AN ELEVATED FIRE DANGER WILL DEVELOP ACROSS THE REGION BY LATE MORNING AND PERSIST THROUGH THE LATE AFTERNOON HOURS.

OUTDOOR BURNING IS HIGHLY DISCOURAGED WEDNESDAY. THE COMBINATION OF BREEZY SOUTHWEST WINDS AND LOW RELATIVE HUMIDITY WILL RESULT IN THE POTENTIAL FOR A RAPID SPREAD OF FIRE OR FIRE THAT BECOMES QUICKLY OUT OF CONTROL.

Red Flag Warning for western/sw Iowa – Wednesday afternoon

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

April 8th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

URGENT – FIRE WEATHER MESSAGE

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE OMAHA/VALLEY NE

331 PM CDT TUE APR 8 2014

…CRITICAL FIRE WEATHER CONDITIONS EXPECTED FOR WEDNESDAY…

A WARM AND DRY AIRMASS WILL BE OVER THE REGION WEDNESDAY. THIS AIRMASS COMBINED WITH SOUTHWEST WINDS OF 15 TO 30 MPH AND AVAILABLE FUELS/DRY GRASSES…SHOULD ELEVATE FIRE WEATHER CONDITIONS INTO THE RED FLAG WARNING RANGE.

COUNTIES: MONONA-HARRISON-SHELBY-POTTAWATTAMIE-MILLS-MONTGOMERY-FREMONT-PAGE

RED FLAG WARNING IN EFFECT FROM NOON TO 7 PM CDT WEDNESDAY FOR WIND AND LOW RELATIVE HUMIDITY

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN OMAHA/VALLEY HAS ISSUED A RED FLAG WARNING FOR WIND AND LOW RELATIVE HUMIDITY…WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM NOON TO 7 PM CDT WEDNESDAY. THE FIRE WEATHER WATCH IS NO LONGER IN EFFECT.

* WINDS…SOUTHWEST 15 TO 25 MPH WITH GUSTS UP TO 35 MPH.

* RELATIVE HUMIDITY…AS LOW AS 15 PERCENT.

* IMPACTS…FIRES CAN EASILY IGNITE AND SPREAD QUICKLY.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

A RED FLAG WARNING MEANS THAT CRITICAL FIRE WEATHER CONDITIONS ARE EITHER OCCURRING NOW…OR WILL SHORTLY. A COMBINATION OF STRONG WINDS…LOW RELATIVE HUMIDITY…AND WARM TEMPERATURES CAN CONTRIBUTE TO EXTREME FIRE BEHAVIOR.

Survey shows drop in Iowa cropland value

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 8th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) — A survey shows the value of Iowa cropland has dropped for the first time since 2009. The Dubuque Telegraph Herald reports the survey from the Iowa Realtors Land Institute shows the value of tillable cropland fell by 5.4 percent in the past six months. The report found the average price of high-quality farmland was $11,104 an acre, a drop of $570 from the last survey released in September.

The survey showed declines in all nine regions of the state, with the largest drop in southeast Iowa. Reasons for the decline include lower commodity prices, higher input costs and increasing interest rates. Prices for Iowa farmland have more than doubled in the past five years. Average high-quality farmland cost $5,297 in 2009 but had soared to $11,515 by 2013.

US bacon prices rise after virus kills baby pigs

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 8th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

MILWAUKEE (AP) – A virus never before seen in the U.S. has killed millions of baby pigs in less than a year, threatening pork production and pushing up prices by 10 percent or more.  The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says a pound of bacon averaged $5.46 in February. That’s 13 percent more than a year ago. Ham and chops have gone up too, although not as much.

Scientists believe porcine epidemic diarrhea came from China, but they don’t know how it got into the United States.  Agricultural economist Steve Meyer estimates the virus has killed nearly 6.8 million pigs in 27 states since last May. Meyer says Americans expect cheap food, but PED has shown how much an outbreak can cost and how important disease prevention is to the food supply.

Fire Weather Watch Wednesday for western IA

Ag/Outdoor, News, Weather

April 8th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

1112 AM CDT TUE APR 8 2014

CRITICAL FIRE WEATHER CONDITIONS EXPECTED FOR WEDNESDAY

A WARM AND DRY AIRMASS WILL BE OVER THE REGION WEDNESDAY. THIS
AIRMASS COMBINED WITH SOUTHWEST WINDS OF 15 TO 30 MPH AND
AVAILABLE FUELS/DRY GRASSES…SHOULD ELEVATE FIRE WEATHER
CONDITIONS INTO THE RED FLAG WARNING RANGE.

COUNTIES: MONONA-HARRISON-SHELBY-POTTAWATTAMIE-MILLS-MONTGOMERY  FREMONT-PAGE-  
A FIRE WEATHER WATCH IS IN EFFECT FROM WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON
THROUGH WEDNESDAY EVENING FOR WIND AND LOW RELATIVE HUMIDITY FOR
SOUTHEAST NEBRASKA AND SOUTHWEST IOWA…

* WINDS…SOUTHWEST 15 TO 20 MPH WITH GUSTS UP TO 30 MPH.

* RELATIVE HUMIDITY…AS LOW AS 20 PERCENT.

* IMPACTS…FIRES CAN EASILY IGNITE AND SPREAD QUICKLY.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

A FIRE WEATHER WATCH MEANS THAT CRITICAL FIRE WEATHER CONDITIONS
ARE FORECAST TO OCCUR. LISTEN FOR LATER FORECASTS AND POSSIBLE
RED FLAG WARNINGS.

Iowa FFA membership reaches new record high

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 7th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

It appears more young Iowans are interested in pursuing a field in agriculture than ever before. The Iowa chapter of the Future Farmers of America Association has announced its membership has climbed to a record high this year. Iowa FFA executive secretary Scott Johnson says there are 14,207 members in 219 high schools across Iowa. That’s up 57-percent compared to a low reached in 1989, following the Farm Crisis.

“So, this is something that has been 25 years in the making,” Johnson says. “We’re thrilled to be back to where we really think we should be and hope to grow some more.” The previous record was set during the 1977-78 school year with 14,204 Iowa FFA members. Johnson says more girls are joining the organization.

“Our male enrollment has been fairly steady to slowly growing over the last 25 years, but our significant growth has been in our female membership,” Johnson says. The organization was launched in the state in 1929. The 86th Iowa FFA Leadership Conference is scheduled for April 27-29 on the campus of Iowa State University in Ames.

(Radio Iowa)

Vilsack: Ag economy remains strong due to exports

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 4th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

JOHNSTON, Iowa (AP) — U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack says he’s confident the agricultural economy will remain strong despite an expected drop in farm income next year as corn prices lag and a pig virus reduces herds. Vilsack, in an interview Friday for “Iowa Press,” the Iowa Public Television program, says this year’s farm income is expected to be slightly under last year’s record but significantly above the 10-year average.

He says another record year of exports for beef, poultry and pork products will help keep the farm economy strong. Challenges include the pig virus, which can be deadly for new-born pigs. Vilsack says it is worrisome but efforts are underway to come up with a vaccine, and the department is working with farmers to minimize losses through herd management.

Ethanol producers complain about rail service

Ag/Outdoor

April 4th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – Ethanol producers say clogged rail lines and other shipping problems have forced them to reduce production of the fuel and contributed to higher prices.  The Renewable Fuels Association criticized railroads Thursday and triggered a strong response from the Association of American Railroads.  RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen says railroads should take the blame for ethanol prices jumping more than $1 a gallon between early February and late March.

AAR CEO Ed Hamberger acknowledges rail traffic slowed in certain areas, but he says it’s preposterous to suggest the rail network is in disarray. Hamberger says railroads have done their best to deal with an exceptional winter, sizeable grain harvest and increased coal demand.

Railroads have hauled 6.8 million carloads this year – about 2 percent more than last year.